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A student sitting at an information table
A MIRO graduate assistant staffs an informational table in front of Sinclair Library.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is being touted as a shining example of how a U.S. university can successfully market itself to its students, resulting in a doubled response rate over four years in a nationally recognized higher education survey.

UH Mānoa’s performance was featured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, pronounced “Nessie”) in its just-released 2017 annual report, “Lessons from the Field: Digging Deeper to Focus and Extend Data Use” (PDF). The Lessons from the Field series is a repository of practical ideas for NSSE institutions to increase evidence-based assessment and improvement. It is also NSSE’s collection of best practices from hundreds of participating institutions each year.

The two-page write-up, “Blueprint for Maximizing Participation and Data Use,” explained how the Mānoa Institutional Research Office (MIRO) reached out to students and campus units “through strategies such as customized reports, online interactive data reporting tools, video tutorials, and face-to-face discussions and training” to double its student response rate from 16 percent in 2011 to 32 percent in 2015.

MIRO used incentives such as rewarding survey participants by entering their names in drawings for prizes such as an iPad 2 and UH Bookstore gift certificates. It also led the charge of dispensing information, for example, by recruiting student members of the American Marketing Association to staff tables around campus, and by visiting some of the largest first-year classes to present information about the survey and to encourage participation.

Said MIRO Director Yang Zhang, “We are gratified to be recognized by NSSE for innovative ways to collect and disseminate student survey data for decision-making. We value student feedback.”

About NSSE

NSSE is the most important student survey in higher education, helping institutions to understand how first-year and senior students are spending time in and out of the classroom. This knowledge helps guide decisions that benefit their educational experience.

Based at the University of Indiana Bloomington, NSSE is administered by hundreds of institutions across North America each year, and is considered one of the most important nation-wide student surveys in higher education. It collects information from samples of first-year and senior students about the nature and quality of their undergraduate experience. Scores are summarized using ten engagement indicators that examine dimensions of student engagement and are organized within four themes: Academic Challenge, Learning with Peers, Experience with Faculty and Campus Environment.

To view the MIRO write-up in the NSSE report, see pages 20-21 (PDF).

—By Diane Chang

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